Forecasters seek to relieve weather confusion

January 8, 2013

By Staff

National Weather Service forecasters use the terms advisory, watch and warning to describe how likely flooding or other weather is to occur, how bad the impact could be and when the problems might arise.

But results from surveys, service assessments and feedback indicate many residents do not fully understand the differences between the terms, or how to respond and stay safe.

The similar-sounding alerts — such as winter storm warning, winter storm watch and winter weather advisory — can confuse the public.

So, meteorologists want to hear from residents about possible alternatives to the existing system. The agency set up a website,, to collect feedback. The demonstration allows participants to complete headline text from a shortened version of official messages and proposed alternatives. The public can go to the website and offer feedback through March 31.

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